Behind the lens…

ricksaaStreatham Redskins photographer Rick Webb reveals all about capturing the team in digital, why he has such a passion for photography and who his favourite players are to snap.

In an extended interview from the one featured in the matchday programme, Rick reveals that Streatham ice hockey club has been important to him from a young age and there is more than meets the eye, to the man stood on a step at the far end of the rink every home game.

 

How did you end up taking pictures at hockey games?

As  a kid   ( 16  &  20` ish ) … I spent  a lot of  time  skating at Streatham ice rink , Mondays, Wednesdays,  Friday,  Saturday & Sundays , it was a  big part of my youth ,  I was ok at  it and  did  ask  the  great  Red Imrie  for a  trial  but  the Redskins were  doing really well at the time  and didn`t  really need any  new  players  & I hadn’t come  up  through  the   youth section & I wasn`t  the  biggest of kids. We skated at Richmond   during  Streatham`s  refurbishment   (late  70`s early 80`s)  &  was aware  that when Richmond got demolished   for redevelopment   with the promise of a new  rink …….it never happened . It was  scandalous .

Most  Sundays we would watch a game in the upstairs bar  with  ( Red`s wife )  Marie  & his  daughter Alison   banging the glass  screaming at the Nottingham Panthers. Tony Goldstone,  Gary Stefan, Robin Andrew  were all playing for the Redskins.  Gary Cloonan  who I knew   a little too   from  bowling  and Mark  Howell, who was in my class at school . Craig Melancon,  Doug Mcoursky, the legendary Peter  Quiney  and many  more quality players were icing for Streatham.

I  did   do   a few   hockey  training sessions  at the Sobell sports centre in Islington  but the late nights  were a pain  with  work and I discovered  motorbikes  &  girls  , so it kind of  fizzled  out  .

When I heard  a  couple  of years  back  that Streatham  was  due  to be  demolished ,  I thought   of  Richmond  &  “oh no ,  not again” !   ……   I  came  down  to  the  rink  to see what  was  going  on and to see if could help out  an any small way,  maybe  take a  few pics of the hockey games  and  make a fuss in the local papers , join  any  action  groups  and generally raise  its profile .

It  was  such  a  big  part of  my  youth  and I got to thinking  where  would our  youngsters  of today  hangout , have fun  , exercise …meet a  few  girls  etc. . I  thought  it would have been a   massive  loss  to  south London and  today`s  youngsters .

Fortunately  by the time I got involved  Tesco  and Lambeth had already agreed  the  new Streatham hub / leisure centre .

I had only recently  purchased  a new  DSLR camera and also  saw it as a great  opportunity  to  familiarise  myself    &  become fluent with it,  for  messing around  with the dials `n buttons on the fly.

It’s easy  to get  lost in the menu`s and sub menu`s  . I always  enjoyed the  Ice Hockey and   having an interest in photography  & knowing as a fast  indoor  sport  it was a bit of a challenge, I quickly  realised  the lighting and glass  were  limiting factors , I’ve  since  addressed  the  glass issue  with some of Nikons  finest .

It was  more  importantly  also a  great  way  to raise  the  profile  of the Redskins hockey club and  good  for  team   morale , I’d like to think the  fans , players  and  families  enjoy  the pics ….especially after a win .  I guess it’s  always  nice to get a  little buzz to see  ones picture  in the local press  too …for me  and the players .

I never  really got into it for  financial  gain.  (that’s  not to  say I wouldn`t welcome people to  purchase  any  shots from the photobox  link  ) ….but to help in any small way to  keep  the history of the Streatham  Redskins  rolling on ….for the  next generation , hopefully  I can  still be involved  at the  nice shiny new rink . My  only  request is a decent spot to shoot  from  and  some decent lighting  .

What is your favourite type of hockey photo ?

aaI`d prefer  to be shooting  at a lower  height really .. more at ice level , The  area between the two benches  at  Brixton was a  great spot  , but  now  the  mixing desk is there  & I don’t really  like shooting  through plexi  .  I’ve  moved my small  platform to alongside  the away teams  bench ,  it gains  me some  height  so that I can shoot over their heads.

I like to try & capture  the action shots  if I can,  a player  at full flight … arm outstretched  fending off an opposing  player  whilst  steering  the  puck  with  his   other hand ,  I  like to see  the player   &  puck  in the same frame if possible   and  also  it’s  important  to me  to try  &  get  the players’  face  in  focus .  I think it’s important to see the players  eyes  if I can .

A  couple   of  pictures  come to mind  quickly … the  one  of Jerry  Pavlus   at   full stretch  in the above mentioned  pose    at   Brixton  and    Thomas  Valko   at  full  tilt  at  Bracknell   ,  gives a  great impression of  speed .   I think  maybe  they`re on the wall  in the locker room .   Mr  magic  Johnston  is   always very  photogenic   too   .

Do you find a particular aspect of the game hard to capture?

It  is a difficult  thing   to do ,  maybe that`s  why I like the challenge ,  it’s such a fast  moving game ,  by the  time you`ve  focused on a player   he`s passed the puck  or  had a  shot on goal ,   do I try &   capture  the player  shooting … or  the  puck  going past the keeper?

With the longish  lens  that I use  it’s  almost  impossible  to do  both .   I think the  biggest  problem for me   shooting   hockey is the lighting , not being allowed  to use a flash of course ,   if  it were a little  brighter in the rink  it would  be massively  easier  for  me .

It’s  taken me  a  little  while  , a lot of pictures ,  some new   ( read  expensive  )  kit  , & some new software ….  but  recently  I’ve changed  my techniques  and workflow .

It  takes me  longer to  upload   the images and post processing   takes  longer  but I am  getting  more control over the  finished images  now .

What else do you take photos of?

romfI guess I  quite  like taking   wildlife  pics , I was lucky enough   to  go to Vancouver  a couple of years  back  and loved taking pics of   Orca   killer whales , and  bald eagles amazing animals ,   but  not having them here   I make  do  with   some badgers  that  visit my garden  fairly  regularly,  along  with  the  ring neck parakeets   and other small garden  birds ,   motorcycling is my   other  big passion.

So  there`s   quite a lot of bike pics  in  my collection  , I’d like to do  more  bike  racing  shots really   but   getting  passes etc.  is  a pain  .  I’d  like to  do  more  stuff  with   lighting really next  , off camera  flash  type stuff . maybe some  work  with models ,   lighting in photography  is such a big deal ,  a  small  change  even in where  the light is positioned  can  make  a huge  difference to the finished  shot .

What’s the funniest photography related story you can remember ?

I can’t think of  any  massively  humorous photography related  stories  , the usual  turning up with your camera  and  no battery  or  memory cards  , getting attacked  by a  deer at Richmond park when Ziggy the dog  disturbed a  doe  & it’s young ,  getting  hit  in the inner  thigh  by a flying puck  at some  hockey match ,  kicking the football  at  one of  my sons  Sunday  games  ,planting my left  foot  in  the slippery mud and landing flat on  my back  raised a bit of a cheer ,  I guess  the biggest incident  involved a  cup of  coffee  and my   laptop …… but the least said about that  the better  …..

 

Lastly  I`d  like to  thank the  hockey  club  for  allowing  me to join  the  fold ,  Barry  Graham  Don  & Terry and   all the  female  backroom   staff  etc.  and all the hard work they do behind the scenes  ,   Tesco  & Lambeth Council  for  building  a new  facility ( including  a temporary venue )  and also  a  big thank  you to the  club journo  who  does  so  much   fantastic  work  for the club  too ……… a  Dave    something or  other  ……..

 

To check out Rick’s pictures visit the link below:

RicksAd_5

 

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